information technology

Romney’s White Whale: Old Man’s IT and the Election That Got Away

Moby Dick

[Illustration from Moby Dick, c. 1925 edition]

ArsTechnica did a comparison between Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s campaigns’ information technology expenditures. They note a few key attributes that differentiate the Romney campaign’s use of IT:

  • Outsource anything that’s not a key competency, and spend as little as possible on it;
  • Reward “friends” with outsourcing contracts;
  • Spend on ad hoc items and pre-built SaaS* (buy from “friends” where possible).

Sure looks like the typical modus operandi of vulture capitalists that don’t invest but hit-and-run on the high seas, looking to harpoon anything of value in order to flay its carcass for cash. This says something both familiar and abhorrent about Mitt Romney and his supporters with regard to democracy.

But there are several other points that ArsTechnica missed in their assessment.

Generational shift — The difference in funds allocated and the way in which the IT monies were spent revealed a compelling truth: old guy Romney doesn’t value information technology the way younger guy Obama does. It’s a generational shift, from old school campaigns which still rely heavily on direct mail and broadcast media, to digital campaigns run by Gen-X and Millennials who are digital natives.

Based on past performance by vendors and team members alike, Obama’s team also trusts the technology team it assembled to do work quickly, effectively, on the fly. They trusted technology.

In contrast, Romney’s camp went with bigger brand name vendors like Best Buy (via service subsidiary) and SalesForce (for customer relationship management SaaS app). In mega-corporate they trust, apparently. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @KailiJoy They could extort donations on a vote by vote basis?
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emptywheel @raynetoday They've got video of assassin's car. @jason_corcoran
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emptywheel @DanMyer82366100 Which remarkably didn't outlast Hash Bash? @MichiganHist
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emptywheel @onekade 3) Strong reporting there's a financial dragnet. And lots more confirmation of poss uses. @csoghoian
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emptywheel @onekade Sure. But we have 1) official FBI confirmation of explosives precursor 2) DOJ IG confirmation Internet = most orders @csoghoian
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emptywheel @DanMyer82366100 Huh. It was 18 in NY and VT until just before I got there. And I'm younger than you. @MichiganHist
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emptywheel @onekade Sure. But a BIG mistake activists made last time was in only focusing on phone dragnet. This is not that. @csoghoian
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emptywheel @onekade I think getting at hackers via traffic rather than content. But don't think metadata like that, either.
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emptywheel @onekade But as I noted, the reporting on this was unreliable.
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emptywheel @onekade Ask @csoghoian. I think rather than getting content they're tracking who's coming in where.
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emptywheel @DanMyer82366100 Drinking age was lower back then, I imagine. I RTed that just to hear from someone who knew it at that time @MichiganHist
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emptywheel @onekade The smart people think they're using it to get data flow.
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